Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

turkey dinner hand pies on a white plate

Turkey Dinner Hand Pies Are the Leftover Hack You Need

Step aside, turkey noodle soup and hot turkey sandwiches – this reimagined twist on turkey dinner leftovers is the game-changing recipe you need for the holidays. Store-bought puff pastry means you only need 15 minutes of prep time to whip these up before popping them into the oven, so you can get back to snuggling up on the couch and basking in that cozy holiday feeling. Warning: you *may* never be able to eat regular leftovers again.

turkey dinner hand pies on a white plate

Turkey Dinner Hand Pies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Cool Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
8 thick slices leftover roast turkey
½ cup leftover gravy, plus more for dipping
½ cup leftover stuffing
½ cup leftover cranberry sauce, plus more for dipping
1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash
1 tsp fresh thyme (optional)

ingredients for turkey dinner hand pies on a marble countertop

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. On a lightly floured surface, lay out pastry sheets. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until both sheets are roughly 10″ x 12”.

3. With a sharp knife, cut each pastry sheet into 4 rectangles, creating 8 rectangles total.

a puff pastry sheet on a white countertop cut into quarters

4. On the right side of one pastry rectangle, lay a slice of turkey. Spread 1 Tbsp gravy over the turkey. Top with 1 Tbsp of stuffing, followed by 1 Tbsp of cranberry sauce. Brush edges of the pastry with egg wash, and then fold the left side of the pastry over the right, lining up the edges as best you can. Crimp shut the open edges with a fork to seal, and use a sharp knife to mark 3 slits in the pastry. Repeat this step with the remaining pastry sheets, creating 8 hand pies total.

Related: Here’s How Long You Can Eat Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

steps for stuffing turkey dinner hand pies shown in 4 separate images

 

5. Brush the tops of the turnovers with remaining egg wash, then sprinkle with fresh thyme (optional).

Related: Use Leftover Potatoes to Make This Internet-Famous Crispy Potatoes Recipe

3 unbaked turkey dinner hand pies on a parchment lined baking sheet

6. Bake the hand pies for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crispy.

7. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

4 turkey dinner hand pies on a cooling rack

8. Serve immediately alongside additional gravy and cranberry sauce for dipping.

Related: Save That Leftover Pie Dough and Make These Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies!

a turkey dinner hand pie on a patterned plate, cut in half to show filling

Looking for more leftover ideas? Try these 10 Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers, From Potatoes to Stuffing.

tea and orange brined turkey on a serving platter

The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

The main event during the holidays often involves serving a perfectly juicy and succulent roast turkey to the ones you love. The last thing you want to do is present an overcooked (or worse, undercooked) bird. Even if this isn’t your first gobbler, it’s handy to have a cheat sheet on file to ensure you’re on track for dinner time. Follow the chart below for a foolproof way to roast the perfect turkey for your holiday feast every single time.

Related: The Best Leftover Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need (We Promise!)

Get the recipe for Tuscan Turkey Roulade

How to Roast a Basic Turkey

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large roasting pan, place thawed turkey, breast side up and tent with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake turkey using the chart below. Remove foil during last hour of cook time. Cook until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 170°F.

Size of Turkey Unstuffed Stuffed
10-12lbs 3 – 3 ¼ hours 3 ½–3 ¾ hours
12-16bs 3 ¼ – 3 ¾ hours 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours
16-20lbs 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours 4 ¼ – 4 ¾ hours
20-24lbs 4 ¼ – 4 ¾ hours 4 ¾ – 5 ¼ hours


Related: How to Brine a Turkey and Why You Should Try It

turkey cut in half on a plate with green leaf garnish and orange slices

Get the recipe for Tea- and Orange-Brined Roasted Turkey

Top Turkey Cooking Tips

1. If using a frozen bird, ensure it’s fully defrosted before roasting.

2. Take your bird out of the fridge while the oven preheats. Juices will run clear when the turkey is done. Look at the juices running from the meat around the thigh bone.

3. If you’re using a convection oven, your bird will cook in 25 per cent less time. Take 15 minutes off each hour on the recommended times above.

4. After the turkey is removed from the oven, let it rest for minimum 30 minutes. The juices need to resettle into the meat.

Looking for more delicious inspiration? Here are the perfect side dishes to pair with your holiday turkey.

Headshot of Ree Drummond over a close-up of her broccoli rice casserole dish

The Pioneer Woman’s Broccoli Rice Casserole is a Comforting Twist on a Classic Side

There are a few things we all crave when we’re sitting down for that iconic Thanksgiving meal: fall flavours, harvest-inspired platters and plenty of soul-warming, comforting options. With that said — as much as we can’t get enough of seasonal classics like stuffing and cranberry sauce — there’s also plenty of room at the table for new spins on savoury side dishes. Enter the queen of home-cooking comfort food, The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, and her latest perfect-for-Thanksgiving casserole recipe. 

Close-up of Best Broccoli Rice Casserole

Made from a delectable mix of long-grain rice, broccoli and a plethora of cheeses, this easy-to-prepare casserole is creamy and oh-so comforting — making it a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving (and everyday, really) dinner table.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Must-Try Casserole Recipes

Best Broccoli Rice Casserole

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 cups whole milk
4-oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
8-oz processed cheese, cubed
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar
8 cups small broccoli florets
6-oz diced pimentos, drained
2 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Ultimate Comfort Food Recipes

Directions:

 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

 2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour, dry mustard and cayenne and stir to mix it in well. Continue to cook for 1 minute.

 3. Next, add the milk, stirring constantly; cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan, stirring until totally combined. Stir in the pepper, salt and paprika. Add the processed cheese, stirring until completely melted. Next, add 1 1/2 cups of the Cheddar and stir until melted. Then, fold in the broccoli and pimentos.

 4. In a large baking dish, create a base with half of the rice. Top with half of the broccoli cheese sauce. Repeat with the remaining rice, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the Cheddar evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Looking for more of The Pioneer Woman’s easy comfort-food meals to warm your dinner table? Try one of these recipes from Ree Drummond this week!

Watch The Pioneer Woman and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.


farm boy thanksgiving dinner 2021

We Tried 4 Canadian Thanksgiving Meal Kits, Here’s How They Really Turned Out

Whether you’re getting together with extended family or having an intimate dinner for two, the thought of making a complete Thanksgiving feast can be daunting even for the most seasoned home cooks.

Thankfully,  there are solid meal kit options on the market that can take the planning, shopping, and stress out of the equation so that you can focus on cooking (or heating up) something impressive and delicious. To help guide your Thanksgiving meal planning, we tried four of the most popular Thanksgiving meal kits on the market. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts, and see how the meal kits actually turned out compared to the pictures.

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

chef's plate thanksgiving dinner

Left: Chefs Plate’s Thanksgiving Turkey & Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussel Sprouts. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Chefs Plate: Thanksgiving Turkey & Thyme Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Perfect For: An Intimate Dinner For Two

Price: $9.99 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via chefsplate.com by October 7th for delivery from October 8th-15th.

Why it’s great: Roasting a whole turkey for two people just doesn’t make sense. For an intimate Thanksgiving feast, the turkey dinner for two option from Chef’s Plate is the perfect solution. With gourmet touches like truffle salt mashed potatoes and maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, this turkey dinner can double as a luxurious date night meal. Bonus: this kit is available to order for 2-16 people, so you can order it even if you’re having a larger gathering.

How it compares: Despite having Thanksgiving touches like turkey and mashed potatoes, this meal kit tasted decidedly less Thanksgiving-y than the other kits (likely because of the mushroom gravy and lack of classic flavours like cranberry sauce and stuffing). Still, it’s a delicious meal that feels subtly festive, and the maple-bacon Brussels sprouts were a real standout.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

hello fresh thanksgiving box

Left: Hello Fresh’s Thanksgiving Box. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Hello Fresh: The Thanksgiving Box

Perfect For: A Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Dinner with All the Fixings

Price: $23.33 per person (boxes starting at $139.99)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via hellofresh.com by September 29th for delivery on October 7th.

Why it’s great: Hosting a crowd? Hello Fresh has you covered with their Thanksgiving Box that comes in two serving sizes to feed 6 or 10 people. If you’re looking for a complete turkey dinner with all the fixings, this is it! The kit includes ingredients for sage-roasted rolled turkey with gravy, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup drizzle, garlic-infused mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and almonds, dinner rolls with herb garlic butter, cranberry sauce with orange zest, and a dessert of graham cracker crust pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The comprehensive instructions guide perfectly times out your cooking process, so you know exactly when to simmer that cranberry sauce mash those potatoes, all while your turkey roasts in the oven. If it’s your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or you simply do not have the energy to put together a menu and buy all the ingredients (we don’t blame you!) but still want to cook something special, this is the kit for you.

How it compares: This is by far the most labour-intensive meal kit, but it really pays off with a whopping eight dishes including dessert (and nine if you add on the vegetarian main of Mushroom and Leek Stuffed Squash). While some of the sides are more simple (like the buttered green beans) compared to the sides in the other kits, it still makes for an exceptionally satisfying complete turkey dinner experience.

Left: Goodfood’s Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Goodfood: Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Broccoli, Onion and Squash Mash

Perfect For: The Last-Minute Get-Together

Price: $9.98 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via makegoodfood.ca by 12 pm EST for same day delivery in select markets by 8 pm EST from October 4th-10th.

Why it’s great: So you forgot to pick up Thanksgiving dinner fixings? No problem! Goodfood’s Thanksgiving dinner kit can be ordered for same day delivery (yes, really!) in select markets including Toronto and Vancouver so you can decide to host in the morning and have an impressive meal on the table that same evening. While this is the only kit that doesn’t offer turkey, it still satisfies those traditional Thanksgiving flavour cravings with its cranberry sauce and squash mash.

How it compares: This kit was by far the easiest to cook, coming together (as advertised) in just 30 minutes. The combination of colours between the squash, red onion and broccoli was also especially stunning and made for a really enticing plate.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

farm boy thanksgiving dinner

Farm Boy Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner for Two. Right: Our plating of the meal.

Farm Boy: Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner For Two

Perfect For: The Hands-Off Chef

Price: $79.99

Availability: Order within Ontario via farmboy.ca, by October 3rd for in-store pick up from October 8th-10th.

Why it’s great: If cooking isn’t your thing but you’re still craving the smell of roasted turkey with stuffing wafting through your home, the Farm Boy Thanksgiving Dinner is your best bet. A complete Thanksgiving meal that you can heat up in 30 minutes is a pretty wonderful experience, and this meal kit features Ontario turkey with savoury turkey gravy, cranberry ginger sauce, cranberry apple sausage stuffing, chive mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots, maple bacon Brussels sprouts and a buttery Cranberry Pecan Tart for dessert. Farm Boy also offers their Thanksgiving Dinner in larger formats for 6-8 people priced at $169.99.

How it compares: Unsurprisingly, this prepared meal comes with the highest price tag per serving, an important factor to keep in mind. That said, the price tag is reflected in the presentation and organization: each dish comes individually packaged and beautifully arranged with straightforward heating instructions. While you can certainly remove the turkey, stuffing, mash and veggies from the packaging, we opted to keep them in the packaging because it was already so nicely plated.  Bonus: Farm Boy is extra generous with the servings of stuffing. And the dessert, a Cranberry Pecan Tart, is drizzled with dark chocolate and is simply divine

Availability: Farm Boy Indulgence Dinner for Two, farmboy.ca, $79.99. Order within Ontario by October 3rd for in-store pick up on October 8th, 9th or 10th.

Craving more Thanksgiving inspiration? See our best Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for a Holiday Potluck. 

Close-up of Mashed Potato with Goats Cheese, as seen on Barefoot Contessa: Back to the Basics, Season 15.

How to Make Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

It really doesn’t matter whether you serve turkey, ham, a turducken or even a tofurky — for many, the real star of a holiday meal is the mashed potato. Nothing beats the side dish’s creamy texture and buttery flavour, which is why we’re always looking to up our mashed potato game with cheese, buttermilk, bacon and other delightfully decadent toppings.

Close-up of Mashed Potato with Goats Cheese, as seen on Barefoot Contessa: Back to the Basics, Season 15.

Related: Ina Garten’s Coziest Holiday Brunch Recipes

Ina Garten’s stress-free, goat cheese-filled make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe will certainly become a winner at your festive table this year. These spuds are one of those amazing dishes you can make ahead, and then heat up on the day to give them a crunchy Parmesan crust. Because who doesn’t want to check off another item on your to-do list before the big day? The only real trick will be not eating them all yourself. Simple, laid back and delicious — exactly how Ina Garten believes gatherings with friends and family should be.

Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 lbs large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 3/4-inch chunks
5 large garlic cloves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 to 8 oz garlic-and-herb goat cheese, at room temperature, such as Montrachet
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the potatoes, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and garlic and process them together through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade set on top of a bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, stir in the goat cheese, butter, sour cream, half-and-half, 4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth.

See More: Ina Garten’s Vegetable Sides That Will Steal the Show 

3. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-by-2-inch oval baking dish, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve hot.

4. Make it ahead: Assemble the dish, including the parmesan, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bake before serving.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Hasselback apple with scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzling of toffee sauce

You’ve Got to Try These Delicious Hasselback Apples Topped With Coconut-Oat Streusel

Apples are such a versatile fruit with so many variations and endless ways to prepare them. These Baking Therapy Hasselback apples feature sweet honey crisp apples (my fave!) that are sliced open like a fan and topped with a delicious coconut-oat streusel. Serve with a drizzle of toffee sauce and a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Perfect for any get together this fall season. Bet you’ve never had apples like this before!

Hasselback apples on white plate

Hasselback Apples With Coconut-Oat Streusel

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 32 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Apples
3 Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Topping
3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup oats
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp shredded coconut
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Hasseback apple ingredients: apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, etc.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Peel the apples, cut in half lengthwise and with a melon baller, scoop out the core. Place the apples core side down and cut thin vertical slices all the way around, making sure not to cut all the way through.

Peeled and cut apples laying on pan

3. Mix together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and brush on the tops of the apples. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until softened.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the streusel topping. In a bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. With a fork, work the mixture together until it forms a crumble.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Irresistible Apple Desserts

5. Remove the apples from the oven. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, strain and top the apple with streusel, making sure to get it between the apple slices. Bake at 425°F uncovered for 10-12 minutes until the streusel is bubbly and golden brown.

6. Enjoy with a drizzle of toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Hasselback apples on baking pan

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her ginger molasses cookies, sticky toffee pudding and pumpkin pie squares with candied pecans.

These Curried Brussels Sprouts Are the Fall Side Dish You Need Right Now

Fall is all about making roasted veggies — and Brussels sprouts should be high up on that list. Their small size and nutty taste make them perfect for roasting. The key is to get the edges crispy and caramelized by roasting them cut side down at a high temperature. And don’t even think about removing the small leaves that fall off — those become so crunchy and make the best Brussels sprouts chips. In this recipe, we use a delicious curry spice mix to take them to next level. All you need to do is cut the Brussels sprouts, toss them in the spice mix and roast them on a sheet pan. The perfect side dish for any meal!

Curried Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 lb Brussels sprouts
3 large garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp chilli powder (more to taste)
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
Lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the Brussels sprouts well and pat dry using a paper towel. Trim the ends and cut in half lengthwise. It’s fine if some of the outer leaves fall off, keep them to roast on the pan.

2. Peel the garlic and crush it using a garlic press. Mix together the curry powder, chilli powder, paprika, salt, olive oil and crushed garlic.

3. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the marinade ensuring they are well coated. Turn the Brussels sprouts cut side down on a sheet pan and space them out evenly (do not overcrowd!).

4. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Serve as a side with lemon wedges.

Looking for more fall recipes? Try this vegan pumpkin soup or this easy paleo butternut squash tart.

Easy Paleo Butternut Squash Tart Recipe: Your Fave Seasonal Squash Transformed!

We can all agree that the fall season is popular for all things pumpkin, particularly pies and tarts. However, you can also enjoy delicious fall desserts by transforming another seasonal favourite into a tasty tart. Introducing this rustic paleo butternut squash tart, made with a grain-free crust and a decadent buttery filling. It’s easy to make and a great way to enjoy butternut squash all season long.

Paleo Butternut Squash Tart

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 55 to 60 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

Crust
1 ¼ cup almond flour
½ cup arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
1 Tbsp cane sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted cold butter, cubed
¼ cup ice water

Filling
2 cups cooked and pureed butternut squash
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp paleo-approved brown sugar
4 ½ tsp arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted room temperature butter
2 eggs
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup warm water

Tip: To save time, you can purchase frozen prepared butternut squash cubes. Heat them up with 1.5 Tbsp of water in the microwave on high for five minutes. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Directions:

1. In a large bowl or a food processor, start by combining the almond flour, starch, sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter until the batter is crumbly. Add in 1 tsp of ice water at a time until the dough starts coming together. You may not need the full ¼ cup of ice water in the event that your dough already sticks together, so play it by ear. Once your dough is formed, but not too sticky, flatten it out into a 1 inch disk and wrap in saran wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Related: The Ultimate Squash Guide: All the Varieties and Their Best Uses

2. When your dough is ready to roll out, remove from the fridge and preheat your oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper into a 10 inch round disk. If you find that the dough is too hard to roll, leave it at room temperature for about a minute. Remove the parchment paper and transfer the dough into a greased 10-inch round tart pan. Press the dough into the pan until all the edges are covered, then return it to the fridge.

3. Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix for 3 minutes until you get a smooth batter. It’s normal to see tiny clumps of butter in the batter after mixing.

4. Pour the filling into the tart crust and place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When ready, cool the tart on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve with toppings of choice.

Like Valerie’s paleo butternut squash tart? Try her 30-minute low-carb lamb burger recipe.

These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

It’s fall! Which means, it’s time to celebrate with a pumpkin dessert. Pumpkin bars, cookies and loaves are among my favourite, but you can’t forget the most important of all — pumpkin pie. These Baking Therapy pumpkin pie bars have a rich and smooth filling blended with warming spices like cinnamon, ginger and clove, as well as a gingery cookie crust. Serve with fresh whipped cream and spiced candied pecans for a little crunch. Once you try these babies, I promise you’ll be hooked!

Pumpkin Pie Squares With Spiced Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 90 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Servings: 12 to 16 squares

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 ⅓ cup (9 full sheets) graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
7 Tbsp butter, melted

Filling
⅔ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
3 ⅓ cup (796 ml can) pumpkin puree
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

Pecans
½ egg white
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups whole pecans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line and grease a 9-inch square pan.

2. Start making the crust. Pulse the gingersnap cookies and graham crackers into a fine crumb in a food processor or use a resealable plastic bag and crush with rolling pin. Add to a bowl with brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix together until it resembles wet sand. Transfer to pan, press mixture down and bake for 10 minutes.

Related: Our Baking Expert Reveals 10 Baking Supplies You Can’t Live Without

3. While the crust is baking, whip up the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Add the condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and salt. Whisk until fully combined.

4. Pour the filling over the crust and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the oven to 325°F and bake for another 30 minutes. The centre should be firm and the sides will start to pull away from the pan. Let cool completely in pan.

5. Whisk together egg white,  sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Toss in the pecans. Bake at 300°F for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

6. Slice into 12 or 16 squares and serve with fresh whipped cream and candied pecans for crunch.

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her ginger molasses cookies and the best ever sticky toffee pudding.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe = The Fall Dessert You Need (Trust Us)

The best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had was in London, England, which makes perfect sense given its origin. A soft and spongy cake made with sweet dates and soaked in a rich toffee sauce? Count me in! I make this dessert for my family every year at Thanksgiving and around the holidays, but truthfully, this dessert‘s good all year round.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 28 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 58 to 60 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Cake
1 cup dates, pitted and packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
3 Tbsp fancy molasses
4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Sauce
½ cup butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp fancy molasses
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Roughly chop the dates to ensure there are no pits, add to a small bowl with baking soda and boiling water. Let side for 10 minutes then puree both water and softened dates until smooth.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line the bottoms of 6 ramekins with parchment paper. Place on a cookie sheet and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, molasses, melted butter and vanilla. Add the date puree. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until just combined.

4. Scoop the batter into the prepared ramekins until ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5. Now prepare the sauce: in a heavy bottom saucepan, whisk together the butter, cream, brown sugar and molasses on medium-high heat. Let the mixture come to a boil and let bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Related: 25 Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts Everyone at Your Table Will Love

6. Once the cakes come out of the oven, while they’re still warm, run a knife around the perimeter of the ramekin to loosen. Invert the ramekin, placing the cake upside-down and remove the parchment paper. Slowly drizzle a couple spoonful’s of the warm toffee sauce on top. The cake will slowly absorb the sauce. To serve, drizzle extra toffee sauce on the plate, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cakedessert wontons and easy peach plum cobbler.

We’re Falling for This Sausage, Apple and Sage-Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

As the fall approaches and the summer heat comes to an end, the hearty comfort food cravings strike! This recipe is as cozy as it gets and hits all the fall must-haves: roasted acorn squash stuffed with sweet apple and a spicy sausage filling. Loaded with flavour, it is perfect for a small Thanksgiving gathering side dish, but easy enough for a weeknight supper. If you aren’t a fan of spice, simply substitute the sausage with a mild Italian or honey garlic variety.

Sausage, Apple and Sage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 medium or 3 small acorn squashes, halved and seeded
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
½ pound ground spicy Italian sausage
1 tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried thyme
1 apple, diced
1 cup panko bread crumbs (unseasoned)
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet, flesh side up. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until tender.

2. As the squash roasts, prepare the filling. In a skillet over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil, garlic, onion and celery. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the sausage, sage and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sausage is browned and cooked throughout, about 5 minutes.

Related: The Ultimate Squash Guide: All the Varieties and Their Best Uses

4. Stir in the apple, bread crumbs and parmesan. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

5. Once squash is ready, evenly divide the mixture amongst the roasted squash halves. Place back in the oven & bake for an additional 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Like Marcella’s acorn squash recipe? Try her winter greens mac and cheese or make-ahead French toast bake.

This Vegan Pumpkin Soup Has a Super-Secret Immune-Boosting Ingredient

Pumpkin soup is the quintessential autumn dish. It’s sweet and creamy with earthy tones and can be pantry-friendly or not, depending if you’re using canned or fresh. This vegan pumpkin soup recipe is a bit different because we’ve snuck in immune-boosting foods inside. Most soups start with a base of onions, garlic and ginger, just like this one — but did you know, these ingredients have antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties? They’re also loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, selenium and zinc. But the super-secret immune-boosting ingredient here is… turmeric. That golden, bright spice has been heavily studied for regulating the immune system. It’s important to add a pinch of black pepper when cooking with turmeric to make it more absorbable in the body. This soup will warm you up in cooler weather and definitely send you back for seconds and thirds.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 bowls of soup

Ingredients:

Soup
1 medium pumpkin (red kuri or kabocha squash also work well) or 3 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree (2 x 398 ml canned pumpkin)
2 tsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tsp minced ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ to 1 tsp sea salt, depending on taste
Pinch pepper
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
1 ½ cups veggie broth

Optional Garnish Toppings
2 tsp maple syrup
Drizzle of coconut milk
Squeeze of lime or lemon
Fresh cilantro, mint or parsley
Pinch of unsweetened shredded coconut
Small handful chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. If you’re using fresh pumpkin or squash, peel it, de-seed it and cut it into chunks.

2. Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil.

3. Toss in the onions, once they become golden, add in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Related: 20 Hearty Vegetable Soup Recipes Just in Time for Sweater Weather

4. Mix everything around so it’s coated in the spices. If your pot is becoming too dry, add a bit more coconut oil.

5. Drop in the carrots and if you’re using fresh pumpkin, add in the chunks. Toss to mix.

6. If you’re using canned pumpkin, spoon it in now, then pour in the coconut milk and broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

7. After 20 minutes, blitz the soup until it’s creamy. If you’re using a blender, be very careful as the soup will be scorching hot.

8. Once blended, taste and re-season with salt and pepper if needed. For an extra hit of sweetness add a few tsp of maple syrup. Top each bowl with a drizzle of coconut milk, a squeeze of lime or lemon, fresh herbs, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts if you’d like.

If you enjoyed Tamara and Sarah’s vegan pumpkin soup recipe, be sure to check out their simple miso chicken or no-bake chocolate oat bars.

Make-Ahead Baked Stuffing Recipe That Will Satisfy Every Time

I learned from a very young age that it’s not a proper turkey dinner without bread stuffing on the table. Forget the cranberry sauce and you might be forgiven. Do roasted potatoes instead of mashed and my dad would probably thank you (he never liked mashed anyway). But don’t make stuffing and you’ll suffer the sad, empty eyes of everyone around the table. After all, what exactly is the point of a turkey dinner without stuffing?

When I made my first turkey dinner, I learned pretty quickly that the turkey cavity is just not big enough for the amount of cubed bread, diced veggies and spices that can be consumed in one sitting. I saw the empty eyes that year. I have been making stuffing outside the bird with my own recipe ever since.

Related: The Tastiest Ways to Use All That Leftover Turkey 

This moist, delicious stuffing can be made ahead of time to free up oven space for that great big side dish – the turkey. The best part is that doing the stuffing outside the bird means I can make a whole lot of it. That way my holiday table is always surrounded by people with satisfied bellies and happy eyes.

Written by Amy Bronee

Simple Oven-Baked Stuffing Recipe

Courtesy of Amy Bronee, familyfeedbag.com, Victoria BC

Make this stuffing the day before Thanksgiving to save yourself some precious time – and sanity!

OvenBakedStuffing_888embed

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Yields: 8-10 servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
2 cups (500 mL) diced yellow onions
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced carrots
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced celery
2 Tbsp (30 mL) poultry seasoning
2 tsp (10 mL) dried rosemary (or 2 tbsp/30 mL chopped fresh rosemary)
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
18 cups (4.5 L) white or brown sandwich bread, cubed (no need to dry it out first)
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken or turkey stock

Related: Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes, From Turkey to Stuffing

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C).
2. Melt butter in large soup pot or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to soften.
3. Stir in poultry seasoning, rosemary, salt and pepper. Continue cooking 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
4. In two batches, add bread cubes to pot, stirring to evenly distribute seasonings and veggies. Pour in stock and stir. Transfer to large baking dish, such as lasagna pan. Cover with foil.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve immediately or, if making ahead, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.

Related: Repurpose Leftover Stale Bread With These Comforting Recipes

Family Feedbag
Amy Bronee is the writer and photographer behind the award-winning home cooking blog FamilyFeedbag.com. Amy has earned several awards and recognitions, including a Jamie Oliver blog of the month award, and being named one of Canada’s “Top 40 Foodies Under 40” by Western Living magazine. Amy’s first cookbook, The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes, was published by Penguin Canada in June.

These Comforting Fried Mashed Potato Balls Make Leftovers the Star

Who doesn’t love creamy mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving? A classic favourite, this delicious side dish is usually one that leaves you with leftovers to repurpose. Instead of simply reheating them (not recommended), get creative in the kitchen with this ultra-tasty and easy appetizer idea that’s great for entertaining. Use whatever cheese and fun add-ins you have in your fridge to change up the flavours and suit your mood!

Mashed Potato Croquettes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 18 balls (approx.)

Ingredients:

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
¾ cup shredded old cheddar cheese
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ tsp salt, divided
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped chives
¼ tsp pepper
Oil, for frying

Directions:

1. Stir together mashed potatoes, cheese and bacon in a medium bowl. Portion into 1-inch balls.
2. Mix panko with ¼ tsp salt in a small bowl. Roll potato balls in panko mixture, pressing lightly to adhere.

3. Heat 1-1/2 -inches oil in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack. Fry potato balls in batches of 4 or 5 until golden. Set aside, and continue frying remaining batches.
4. Stir sour cream with chives, remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl. Serve with warm croquettes.

Don’t stop reimagining your leftovers there! Here are 12 turkey soup and stew recipes, plus tips on how long you can actually eat your Thanksgiving leftovers. Also, this braised turkey sandwich is worthy of becoming a new holiday tradition.

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Latte Pretzel Pie (No Pastry Skills Required!)

For those who avoid making pie dough at all costs, this cream pie-style “PSL” is just the ticket. A no-bake, salty-sweet pretzel crust holds a stove top pumpkin-coffee filling, all topped with maple whipped cream. It’s a taste of fall’s famous café beverage in delicious dessert form, and perfect for autumnal entertaining this Thanksgiving and beyond.

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Latte Pretzel Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Makes: 1, 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding
1¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
1½ Tbsp ground coffee (regular or decaf), plus more to garnish
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup cornstarch
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pretzel Crust
20 pretzel twists (from a 200g bag, about 1/3 bag)
16 square or 8 sheets (150g, 1 sleeve) graham crackers
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Topping
1 cup fridge-cold heavy cream
1 Tbsp fridge-cold maple syrup

Directions:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk to combine milk, pumpkin and coffee. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking often, until steaming.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk to combine brown sugar, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice and salt; whisk in the egg yolks.
3.
Temper the egg mixture by pouring in one-third of the hot milk mixture while whisking constantly. Return tempered egg and milk mixture to the pot and continue to whisk constantly for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened considerably. Make sure a few large bubbles pop in the centre – this ensures an enzyme in the egg breaks down so your pudding will stay firm, not loosen once cool.

4. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Press through a fine mesh sieve over a large clean bowl, discard any coffee solids in the sieve and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.
5. Cool to almost room temperature, and then refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Pretzel Crust
1. In a food processor or blender, pulse pretzels, graham crackers, brown sugar and salt until pulverized.
2. Tip into a large bowl and stir in melted butter until fully combined and mixture holds together when pressed between two fingers (if it won’t hold its shape, add more melted butter or plain water, 1 tablespoon at time until it does).
3. Firmly press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
4. Refrigerate the crust to firm up while you wait for the pudding to cool down.

Assembly
1. Once the pudding mixture has cooled and the crust is chilled, spread the cold, thick pudding evenly over the crust using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to help.

2. Place the same piece of plastic wrap over the pudding portion of the pie again and refrigerate to firm up and come together, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days (before topping with whipped cream).

Topping
1. Right before serving, whip the cream to medium-stiff peaks, adding the maple syrup when it’s almost reached its full volume.

2. Remove plastic wrap from pie and dollop or pipe over whipped cream, swooshing haphazardly or being neat and tidy. Sprinkle with a touch of additional ground coffee. Slice and serve.

Here are 50 more creative recipes to use up the rest of that can of pumpkin purée, plus 45 perfect pumpkin desserts and 30 delicious ways to get your pumpkin spice fix.

brine turkey

How to Brine a Turkey and Why You Should Try It

If you’ve ever had unbelievably flavourful and juicy chicken at a restaurant, chances are it was brined before it was served to you. You can get that same tender result at home by brining your Thanksgiving turkey before roasting it. Besides adding flavour through aromatics like garlic and bay leaves, brining helps meat retain moisture through the cooking process, resulting in unbelievably tender turkey and lots of compliments to the chef. Whether it’s a wet or dry brine, it’s a real easy technique that is good to have in your repertoire. Here’s how to make both wet and dry turkey brines, along with some pros and cons for the two methods.

Turkey brine

Wet Brining

Pro: Soaking your bird in a saltwater solution allows you to easily infuse it with different flavours, such as bay leaves, citrus peels, whole peppercorns or onions. Just strain them after the brining is complete.

Con: Wet brining can be a bulky process. Because there is a lot of liquid involved, this method requires a large container to hold the turkey and the brine, which can mean rearranging your refrigerator ahead of the big day.

Con: For extra crispy skin, you need to remove the turkey from the brine and return to the fridge uncovered for several more hours to dry. With the dry brine, you can just roast straight away for golden, crispy results.

Simple Wet Brine for Turkey

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours

Ingredients:

1 L water
1 cup sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Peel of 1 lemon
3 L cold water
1 tall, large pot or container
1 large turkey, gizzards and neck removed from cavity

Directions:

1. Place 1 litre of water and all aromatics in a medium pot. Turn the stove to medium heat and stir until the salt has completely dissolved.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes while aromatics infuse. Combine with remaining water.

3. Place turkey in the pot and add saltwater mixture. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for approximately 12 hours or overnight.

Related: Tasty Ways to Use All That Leftover Turkey

4. When ready to roast, strain saltwater from the pot and discard any remaining aromatics.

5. Rinse turkey in cold water, including inside the cavity, to remove excess brine.

6. Place turkey on a clean towel or sheets of paper towel and pat dry.

7. Roast as desired.

Dry Brine

Pro: With no added liquid and just a medley of salt and spices rubbed directly on the bird you give the salt an opportunity to draw moisture from the bird. Once the salt dissolves,  the moisture is reabsorbed, salt in tow, tenderizing the meat and maintaining its flavour without watering it down.
Pro: Since there is no extra liquid used, roasting will yield a beautifully brown and crispy skin.

Con: The dry rub isn’t for those who hate getting hands-on with meat. You need to make sure this salt rub is rubbed in evenly for it to fully work its magic.

Simple Dry Brine for Turkey

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 to 12 hours

Ingredients:

2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
½ cup sea salt
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 large turkey, gizzards and neck removed from cavity

Directions:

1. Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until a chunky paste forms.

2. Add salt and sugar and continue to pulse until a grainy paste forms.

3. Pat turkey dry with paper towel and then liberally rub the salt mixture all over the skin and inside of the cavity.

Related: Turkey Cooking Tips to Roast the Perfect Bird Every Time

4. Place in refrigerator and let sit for 8 to 12 hours.

5. Remove from refrigerator and rinse in cold water to remove the rub.

6. Place turkey on a clean towel or sheets of paper towel and pat dry.

7. Roast as desired.

Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Try these make-ahead recipes for a stress-free Thanksgiving feast.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Published September 29, 2017, Updated October 1, 2019

How to Make Keto-Style Stuffing for Thanksgiving (That Tastes Heavenly)

Sticking to a keto, low-carb or paleo diet throughout the holidays certainly does not mean missing out on all the Thanksgiving classics, like stuffing. And here’s the best part about our keto stuffing: it actually tastes like the real thing! Using a keto bread, either from the grocery store or homemade, still provides that wonderful moist, stuffing texture and nicely soaks up all the delicious, flavourful juices. Keto bread has become so popular that it’s available at most conventional grocery stores and almost all health food stores; if you can’t find it, check the freezer section.

Keto-Style Cauliflower Stuffing Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes (or 1 hour 45 if drying the bread)
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 cups (about 1 loaf) store-bought or homemade keto bread, sliced into 1 ½ inch cubes
¼ cup butter
1 large shallots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups cauliflower florets, chopped into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 ½ cups beef or chicken broth
1 egg

Directions:

1. The keto bread must be dry or stale before you begin this recipe so it can soak up all the juices. If it’s not stale, dry it by placing the bread cubes on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and ensure the bread is not overcrowded. Bake in the oven at 250°F for 1 hour. Toss halfway.

2. Place a large, wide skillet on medium-high heat, add the butter, and as it begins to sizzle and melt toss in the shallots, celery, garlic and cauliflower, cook for 10 minutes until softened. After 10 minutes add in the herbs, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat.
3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a casserole dish (9×13 works well but any medium to large casserole dish will do).
4. In a bowl, crack and whisk the eggs and stir in the broth.
5. Transfer the shallot mixture into a large bowl, fold in the dried keto bread, pour over the egg and broth mixture and stir to combine.

6. Place the mixture into the buttered casserole dish, cover it and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, uncover it and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

More reasons to do a happy dance at the Thanksgiving table this year: this keto cheesecake, these fudgy keto brownies and our collection of the best keto-friendly appetizers.

Your 10 Most Common Turkey Cooking Questions, Answered

So you’ve decided to cook a turkey for the holidays, have you? NBD. It’s only the centrepiece of your entire meal—what could possibly go wrong?

We get it. The idea of roasting an entire bird that will either signify the success or failure of a dinner party is daunting, which is probably why we always have so many questions about how to properly cook the bird in the first place. It’s not like we do it every other week.

Thankfully, with a little planning and know-how, cooking a turkey is one of the most satisfying—and delicious—things about a group meal. Read on for answers to all of your juicy turkey-themed questions.


Get the recipe for Tuscan Turkey Roulade

1. How to cook a turkey, and for how long?

We swear one of the best ways to cook a turkey—for beginners, novices and experts alike—is the old fashioned way: roasting. How long you cook your turkey depends on how much it weighs and whether it’s stuffed.

A good rule of thumb is to roast a raw (not frozen), unstuffed turkey at 325°F for 20 minutes per pound. Remove the neck and giblets, rub it down with your chosen spice rub, put it in a roasting pan, and cover it or tent it with foil—shiny side down. Baste the bird with melted butter or pan drippings every half an hour, and remove the tent for the last 60 minutes. Then, let the bird rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

If you’re cooking a stuffed turkey, you can follow almost all of the same steps, but you’ll have to cook it longer. Need more info? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times.

2. How do you brine a turkey?

If you’ve craving super juicy, flavourful turkey, brining can be your best friend. Brining basically means you let your bird sit in a salty water bath for 12-24 hours before you roast it, which allows meat to retain more moisture through the cooking process. But you can dry-brine a turkey as well.

If you’re wet-brining, you’ll need an extra-large container to hold all of your liquid. If you’re dry-brining you’ll have to get down and dirty with your bird, ensuring that you massage all of that salty, flavourful goodness evenly into the meat.

Whichever method you go for, brining will definitely up your turkey-roasting game.

3. What temperature should you cook turkey?

Although 20 minutes per pound is a good rule of thumb, how long a turkey actually takes to cook varies according to how often you’ve opened the oven door, whether the bird was completely thawed when you popped it in, how well your individual oven heats up and how evenly it cooks. That’s why it’s always important to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. A bird is good to go when a thermometer inserted into the inner thigh of an unstuffed turkey reads 170° F, or 180° F for a stuffed bird. Be sure to check the stuffing itself too—that should reach 165 °F.

4. How to defrost a turkey quickly?

Most turkeys need a few days to fully defrost—about 24 hours per five pounds is widely considered the golden rule. Here’s the good news: If you forgot to transfer your turkey from freezer to fridge in time, you can still thaw your bird in a cold-water bath. Pop it in a clean sink, tub or container with enough cold water to immerse it completely, and then refill it every half-an-hour to help prevent any foodborne illness. At that rate, a 15-pound turkey should be ready to go in about 7.5 hours.


Get the recipe for Lemon-Sage Butter Roasted Turkey

5. How to carve a turkey?

Ever notice how no one ever jumps up at the chance to carve a turkey? It seems like such an overwhelming task, but once your turkey is roasted to golden perfection, you’re going to need someone to volunteer as tribute. Or, you can learn how to do it yourself!

Basically, remove the legs and thighs first, followed by the drumsticks. Carry on to remove the wishbone and then the breasts, followed by the wings. Slice the thigh meat and breast meat, then voila! Put it on a platter for all to enjoy. Easy peasy, turkey breezy. Or, something like that.

6. How to make ground turkey?

If you’re tired of regular old chuck, ground turkey can be a delicious alternative. When experimenting with new recipes remember to ensure you always cook ground turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F in order to prevent foodborne illness. Other than that, ground turkey is your playground. You can use it for comfort foods like meatloaf and chili, or get even more creative with stuffed peppers, meatballs and burgers. Basically you can use it any way you’d use regular ground beef.


Get the recipe for Valerie Bertinelli’s Ohio  Turkey Chili

7. Why is turkey the healthiest meat?

We’ve all heard about the health benefits of eating turkey—it’s a lean, low-fat meat that’s full of protein and helps promote muscle growth. But like most health foods, there are some stipulations. Dark meat, although still full of vitamins, is higher in fat than white meat. And, like chicken, it’s best to avoid the fatty skin if you’re looking to keep the calories in check.

Considering that, why not take advantage of turkey leg sales after the holidays and whip up some Jerk Turkey Legs? Or pick up a breast and try out a hearty and satisfying stuffed Turkey Roulade.

8. Which holidays do you eat turkey?

As far as we’re concerned, any holiday is a good excuse to roast up a turkey, but typically in Canada we flock to the bird come Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s probably because fall and winter are great times to indulge in plenty of turkey leftovers. From Turkey White Bean Chilli and frittata, to sliders and panini, there are myriad ways to use up those bird-tastic extras.


Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Leftover Thanksgiving Panini

9. How long do turkey leftovers last?

If you need a bit of a break from new recipes after making such a big feast, no one would blame you. But if you do eventually want to give your leftovers new life, you’ll want to wrap them up and pop them in the fridge within two hours, and then use them within three-to-four days.

Otherwise, freeze leftovers in an airtight plastic bag or container for up to six months. That way, you can just pull them out the next time you’re hankering for a classic casserole or soup.

10. What are the easiest turkey recipes for beginners?

If you’re hesitant to cook a turkey, we definitely recommend starting with the basics. There are many, many ways to switch up roasted turkey when you consider the various spice mixes, brining techniques, stuffing options and even basting methods out there (we personally love layering the bird with bacon slices before popping it in the oven!).

Pick a recipe that you feel comfortable with, and experiment from there. And remember, practice makes perfect…ly  delicious turkey.

8 Cooking Tips to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes Every Time

The perfect mashed potatoes should be creamy, fluffy, decadently buttery and so good it requires little to no gravy if made right. Why then have we grumbled over gluey, lumpy and sloppy interpretations of what is a simple staple on every holiday menu? You need only follow 8 incredibly easy tips for the lightest and most sublime mashed potatoes. This spuds for you.

1. Mix it Up

We like Yukon gold potatoes for their buttery texture and golden hue, and Russet potatoes for their starchy, dry quality, making for a lighter mash. Choose one or mix the two for the best of both worlds.

2. Size Matters

Peel and cut the potatoes the same size and add to a large pot of cold water. Both measures will ensure even cooking to prevent the outer layer from breaking down, avoiding lumps.

3. Seasoning is Everything

Add enough kosher salt or sea salt to boiling water until salty to the tongue, about 1 Tbsp salt to 6 cups water. Two cloves of garlic will flavour the cooking liquid and the potatoes when you mash together.

4. Shake the Pot

Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Set over medium heat, shaking the pot, uncovered until all moisture has evaporated, about 1 minute.

5. Hot Liquid Equals Smooth Mash

Heat butter and cream or milk in a saucepan until steaming, and keep warm. A hot mixture is easily and quickly absorbed into the mashed potatoes. Starch requires full-fat dairy for a creamy texture, so don’t skimp out during the holiday.

6. A Ricer is Nicer

A ricer or food mill is a professional cook’s tool to push the spuds through small holes to get that restaurant-quality texture every time.

7. Fresh is Best

Reheated mashed potatoes are never as good as freshly made. To prep ahead: peel, cut and soak your potatoes in cold water, and combine the butter and cream or milk in a saucepan, covered. Stir in the seasoned cream mixture into the potatoes and taste for seasoning. You may need to sprinkle more salt, and remember, reserve any remaining cream mixture, as the potatoes will continue to absorb the liquid.

8. Dress for Success

Perfect in its natural state, don’t forgo a simple garnish like a square of butter, and or chopped chives, green onions or parsley. You can also stir in a spoonful of sour cream for a tangy finish.

Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

1.5 kg russet and Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks
3 cloves garlic, smashed
¾ cup 35% cream
¼ cup milk
½ cup butter
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 green onions, chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp butter (optional)

Directions:

1. Fill a large pot of cold salted water; add potatoes and garlic. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are falling apart, about 15 minutes.
2. Drain potato mixture and return to pot over medium heat; shake pot, uncovered until potatoes are dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl.
3. Using a ricer or food mill, press potatoes and garlic through ricer back into pot.

4. Heat cream, milk, butter, salt and pepper in saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted, and mixture is hot. Stir into potato mixture and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
5. Transfer to serving dish and top with butter and green onions (if using).

See here for the ultimate guide to turkey cooking times, a reliable Thanksgiving checklist to stay ahead of the stress, and the best make-ahead baked stuffing.

Tasty Thai “Fall” Rolls with Pumpkin-Coconut Sauce (That You Can Make Ahead!)

A Thai-style appetizer with a Thanksgiving twist, these “fall” rolls offer a light bite before the main event. Inspired by the fresh summer rolls enjoyed at Thai restaurants, this autumnal version with roasted sweet potato and cabbage, soba noodles and peanuts is paired with a savoury coconut milk and pumpkin sauce spiced up with sriracha and juicy lime. They’re healthy, easy to prepare and can be made ahead up to one day – a bonus when holiday entertaining

Create your own filling to use up leftovers like roasted Brussels sprouts and squash, or add a bit of protein with shredded roasted turkey. You can even wrap up a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. There are no rules to roll.

Fresh Thai “Fall” Rolls with Pumpkin-Coconut Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes: 15 to 20 rolls

Ingredients: 

Filling
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch sticks
5 cups shredded green cabbage or quartered Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus more for noodles
2 Tbsp soy sauce, plus more for noodles
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
½ (363g) pkg (2 bundles) buckwheat soba noodles 

Coconut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce
1 (160mL) small can coconut milk
⅓ cup pumpkin purée
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Sriracha, to taste 

Assembly
15 to 20 rice paper wrappers
3 green onions, sliced into matchsticks
1 cup fresh basil leaves or cilantro leaves
¼ cup roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), roughly chopped
Black or white sesame seeds

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add squash, cabbage, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar, and then toss to combine and spread into a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, toss and roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool to room temperature, or store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain well again. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with a splash of additional sesame oil and soy sauce to coat and prevent the noodles from clumping. 

3. For the sauce, in a medium bowl whisk all ingredients well to combine so no lumps remain. If the coconut milk is cold, there will be lumps that refuse to whisk; if this happens, heat mixture in a pot over low heat, whisking constantly, until they melt. Pour into a serving bowl, or store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The sauce will firm as it cools, which tastes great, too – bring to room temperature for a looser dipping sauce consistency. 

4. To assemble, fill a large pie plate or rimmed baking sheet with warm tap water. Have all the filling and assembly ingredients chopped and within arm’s reach. Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper and have a few damp paper towels handy. Working one rice paper wrapper at a time, re-hydrate for 20 to 30 seconds in warm water until pliable, and place on a clean service.

5. To the wrappers, in the bottom third leaving a portion of rice paper wrapper exposed at the bottom, add a small amount (about ⅓ cup total) of roasted vegetables, noodles, green onions, basil and peanuts. Tuck in the bottom, then the sides and continue to roll away from you to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet and cover with a damp paper towel to avoid drying out. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. If making ahead, wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and transfer to an airtight container for up to one day; unwrap before serving.

6. Add rolls to plate next to dipping sauce, sprinkle the rolls and sauce with sesame seeds, and then serve. 

With an appetizer covered, it’s time to figure out the main course – here are some hacks to keep stress down in the kitchen.